Publishing has taken a beating from digital innovation. That’s old news and also the publishing industry’s fault. But one particular niche magazine, Cat Fancy, can blame the Internet, and cat memes specifically, for its demise.
Yes, everyone: Your cat memes killed a magazine that’s been in print since 1965. New York reported that in place of Cat Fancy, I-5 publishing will launch a new one called Catster. It’s a little more hip. New York’s Abraham Riesman says anyone who’s shared a cat GIF is to blame:
Then there’s the other massive trend in cat culture that Cat Fancy never totally caught up to: Nowadays, cat enthusiasm is all about laughter and delight. When the internet goes gaga for a piece of cat content, it’s lighthearted, or about cats as an extension of our personalities and lifestyles. It’s a video of a cat massaging another cat or falling into a fish tank. It’s a list of GIFs of cats who “Cannot Even Handle It Right Now.” It’s an advice column about dating a fellow cat person (featuring, of course, lots of GIFs).
So our culture of laughing at and anthropomorphizing cute (or better for a meme, ugly) cats has caused an entire subset of publishing to shift its focus. Cat content accounts for 15 percent of all Internet traffic.
Luckily, according to Riesman’s report, we didn’t cost anyone a job by buying Grumpy Cat calendars: The newsroom will be the same and focused on creating a magazine subscribers will want on and offline. But what will happen to all the old cat ladies who still subscribe? They are not going to like this:
Believe it or not, that audience did still contain people who wanted no part of the online cat explosion. “Many of those original subscribers, to this day, don’t own a computer,” [contributor Sandy] Robins told [Riesman] with a laugh. “When one of my cats passed away, I got one or two emails, but I must have got about 40 letters of condolence in the mail. And that was 2009!”
Another point for millennials, changing culture one step at a time. Cat GIFs included.